When you buy a home you start out with so many options. I think it’s only natural to wonder for some time if you made the right choice. We selected The Orchard in Burlington for all the obvious reasons: the abundance of schools, parks and trails, the proliferation of children (this appeared to be the neighbourhood for procreating!), safety and convenience, and the houses themselves which were both newer than what was presented in many other Burlington neighbourhoods and offered desirable open concept interiors and manageable exterior spaces. I had a vision; our son running down the sidewalk after school, and in and out of neighbours’ yards on the weekend, playing with the local kids.
While all of this sounded great, I knew from experience that it’s no guarantee of a sense of community. We had come from a neighbourhood out of town that wasn’t entirely dissimilar in appearance. And yet, that area left me cold. People were polite, but not connected.
I remember the moment something “clicked” for me here in the Orchard…
It was an afternoon in late September, a few weeks after we had moved in. I was taking our 17 month old son and our Chihuahua out for a walk before dinner. I still hadn’t really met anyone other than our immediate neighbours.
I had not walked more than 100 meters when two young girls popped onto the sidewalk and asked, “Can we pet your dog?” I was expecting a quick pet of the Chihuahua and I’d be on my way. But this was the Orchard, and things are different here, I just didn’t know it yet. I saw one little girl’s mom smile knowingly from her spot weeding the garden.
“Your dog’s really cute. What kind of dog is she? How old is she? Is she a puppy?” said the first little girl in a rapid-fire series of questions.
“I want a dog for Christmas,” said the other little girl. “My mom says that if we win the lottery, I can get a dog. Do you think it’s hard to win the lottery?”
“I’m seven years old and my friend is eight years old. But we can still play together, even though we are in different grades,” the first little girl offered. “How old is your baby? What is his name? Can he talk yet? I don’t have a brother, but I have a younger sister!”
I spent the entirety of my time “out for a walk” in sight of my own front door. Those little girls asked a lot more questions in the time we spent with them and were excited to share pieces of their own world with us.
I walked back to our new house thinking how nice it was that these neighbourhood kids were so genuinely friendly. They seemed open and carefree in the way that children should be.
I knew at that moment that we had made the right choice moving into the Orchard. And I thought, “Yes. We are finally home.”
Written by: A Fellow Orchard Neighbour